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Robert Jolin Osborne (born May 3, 1932) is an Americanmarker actor and film historian best known as the host of the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) network since its inception in 1994. He formerly hosted films on cable television's The Movie Channel.

Born in the small town Colfaxmarker, Washingtonmarker, Osborne graduated from the University of Washingtonmarker's School of Journalism.


Osborne began his career working as a contract actor for Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball's Desilu Studios. He became part of Lucille Ball's Desilu Workshop in which Ball worked with and nurtured young performers like Osborne and actress-singer Carole Cook. As an actor, Osborne made his television debut in 1959 on an episode of Desilu Playhouse called "Chain Of Command" starring Hugh O'Brian. He followed that appearance with the special Christmas Day Desilu Playhouse installment, "The Desilu Revue" in December of that year. He also appeared in small roles in such shows as The Californians and in the pilot episode of The Beverly Hillbillies.

Lucille Ball suggested to Osborne that he combine his love of film with his abilities as a journalist. Osborne took her advice, although he has continued to appear in a number of small parts in television and film, including an appearance parodying his TCM hosting job on Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law.

Osborne has been writing a column for The Hollywood Reporter since 1982. In 2008, Abbeville Press published his book 80 Years of the Oscar: The Official History of the Academy Awards.

For TCM, in addition to hosting four primetime movies seven days per week, he has also been the longtime host of special one-on-one private screening interviews. He has had interview shows with many familiar actors, actresses, and directors. Since 2006, he also co-hosts TCM's The Essentials, with Molly Haskell from 2006 to 2007, with Carrie Fisher from 2007 to 2008, with Rose McGowan from 2008 to 2009, and currently with Alec Baldwin.

Osborne has also participated in events at The Paley Center For Media in New York City saluting the television careers of Lucille Ball and Cloris Leachman.

Robert Osborne also hosts the annual Robert Osborne's Classic Film Festival in Athensmarker, Georgiamarker. It began in 2005. The non-profit event is held by the University of Georgiamarker’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Personal life

Osborne resides in New York Citymarker. He is the uncle of Melvins guitarist Buzz Osborne.

Honors and awards

Osborne won the Publicists Guild of America 1984 Press Award. In 2005, he received an honorary doctorate from the Academy of Art University. He was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Famemarker in 2006. The star is located on Vine Street. In 2008, he received the National Board of Review's William K. Everson Award.


  • 80 Years of the Oscar: The Official History of the Academy Awards by Robert Osborne (2008); originally titled 50 Golden Years of the Oscar (1978), several editions in between
  • Leading Men: The 50 Most Unforgettable Actors of the Studio Era by Turner Classic Movies, Molly Haskell, and Robert Osborne (2006)
  • Leading Ladies: The 50 Most Unforgettable Actresses of the Studio Era by Turner Classic Movies, Molly Haskell, and Robert Osborne (2006)
  • Under the Rainbow: An Intimate Memoir of Judy Garland, Rock Hudson and My Life in Old Hollywood by John Carlyle and Robert Osborne (2006)
  • In the Picture: Production Stills from the TCM Archives by Robert Osborne, Alexa L. Foreman, Ruth A. Peltason, and Mark A. Vieira (2004)
  • Picture Show: Classic Movie Posters from the TCM Archives by Dianna Edwards, Robert Osborne, and Turner Classic Movies (2003)
  • Academy Awards Illustrated by Robert Osborne (1965)


  1. Biography at Osborne's official website
  2. Film Festival overview
  3. Timeline at Osborne's official website

External links

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